How do I use this method of litter?
I would suggest you go to the top of the page and use the 'search' function typing in Deep Litter. You'll get lots of great posts that totally talk about how to effectively use the DLM.
Just a quickie - you start with a few inches of shavings on the floor of your coop. Every couple of weeks (more or less as needed in your area) you turn the shavings with a shovel or rake. Also every few weeks or month you add another couple of inches on top of what's there. Continue this adding and turning through the winter until spring comes and it's time to clean it all out and start over!!
The reason people start in the spring/summer and add through the winter is that by building up the floor with the shavings you help give heat to the inside of the coop, thus helping keep your chickens warmer.
If you use the DLM on a dirt floor the litter will start to compost. That's great. However, most people have cement or wood floors so using the DLM is still a great idea but it won't compost.
Finally - you don't want it to get wet. If your waterer overflows or you get rain inside then you want to right away shovel out the wet shavings and replace with dry shavings.
I love this method but I've only used it for a year now.
Progressive Pics Cheat Sheet
- Lost in the Woods
Here ya go!!!
Deep Litter Method
Hope this helps!
I like straw over shavings, because it breaks down faster. But I hear shavings attract fewer flies. I let the chickens turn it over. I apply it thicker under the roosts because they poop most there. During the winter I don't remove any litter, I just keep adding more when it looks a little used up. In the spring when the weather warms up, I shovel it all out to a compost bin and start fresh. I'll do it once again in the fall so I always have ton of compost for the garden the two times of the year I want it most.
Crittergarden - Timothy hay would be expensive for deep litter. Straw or shavings are much cheaper.
That's a nice price. For us, straw comes in a bale that is twice as large as the bales Timothy comes in. I can nearly 4 times as much straw for what a bale of Timothy hay costs locally (which fluctuates significantly throughout the year).
As an added bonus sometimes there are still wheat heads in the bale and the chickens entertain themselves for hours looking for them. LOL